"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
I find great enjoyment in books written for children. In them are some of the most wonderful illustrations of how to live life. I have my favorite authors, but Dr. Seuss penned some of the most memorable.
As I was thinking about today's message, one of those stories kept leaping to the forefront of my mind. Horton Hears a Who is a marvelous tale about an elephant who hears voices coming from a speck of dust. It turns out that there is a whole world there and Horton vows to protect it. No matter how much ridiculing he receives from the other animals, he is faithful to the Who people. My favorite line is, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!"
Of course, the lesson is clear that if you make a promise, you keep it even if it is hard to do. It makes me wonder how many times I have broken my word to others. There's always a way out. Sometimes it was honest because of illness or situations outside of my control. But, sadly, there have been times when excuses were made up simply because I didn't find it convenient to do what I said I would do. I am deeply remorseful for the times when I was not faithful.
Today's verses remind us that the love we say we have for others needs to go further than just the words we utter. Jesus told us He loved us but He proved it by laying down His life for us. Where would we all be if He had decided that the cross wasn't convenient for Him or that He didn't want to endure the pain our atonement required?
Have you ever heard the saying that says, "You may be the only Bible some people ever see?" When we identify ourselves as followers of Christ, we have the responsibility to live our lives according to His example. We need to be truthful and honorable because He is the embodiment of truth and honor. As Horton, we need to say what we mean and mean what we say. If we truly love someone, our actions will show our sincerity.
There is so much pain in the world. People are lonely. People have been hurt. People are angry. It is up to us to make a difference. Our words and our deeds need to be evidence of our love, but more importantly, they need to be evidence of His love. Ultimately, our goal is to point these souls to the Lord. If we want them to have faith in Him, then we must present ourselves as honest and truthful.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read these words. My prayer is always that God will touch hearts in any way that He sees fit. His grace and mercy have covered my life and my only goal is for Him to be glorified. In His great love, Karla